Update: 19.02.2018

Soil is one of the most complicated biological materials on our planet.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

IUSS Alert 72 (April 2011)

Information for and from the global soil science community

Soil Science Aid

Since 2002 Timor Leste has been trying to improve infrastructure that was destroyed in the lead up to independence. In this poor country agriculture provides livelihoods for more than 80% of the population and as such it is recognised that better understanding of soils is important. ASSSI decided to assist soil science in Timor Leste partly because ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Seeds of Life program) is operating there to improve the local capacity to increase food security. Thus, this ASSSI project aims to improve the soil science facilities for a young developing nation that has many needs, including the development of soil science. Last year surplus soil testing laboratory instruments and apparatus were donated from laboratories across Australia and this equipment is now ready for freighting to Timor Leste. The response for equipment was far greater than anticipated with several spectrophotometers, an oven, centrifuges, balances, a tonne of glassware and many other items being collected.  The cost of shipping the goods from Australia is $10,685. Currently the ASSSI has raised $3690 towards the freight costs. All funds donated are for the project and there are no administrative costs or fees applied to this project. Link to further information on the soil science in East Timor project click here.

Land grabbing

Development is the flagship journal of the Society for International Development (SID). A special issue of the journal 'Development' focuses on land grabbing. Land grabbing is the contentious issue of large land transactions; the buying or leasing of large pieces of land in developing countries, by domestic and transnational companies. Those transnational corporations are often supported and encouraged by central governments. The land then mainly is used around the production and export of food and biofuels. Researchers from the University of Utrecht and the Land Research Action Network present the dilemmas of the current global land grabs in Africa, Latin America and Asia and how to ensure that the benefits from foreign land development are passed on to local people.  See: Development, Volume 54, Issue 1 (March 2011) -  Global Land Grabs. For articles click here. 

Meetings and Conferences

Land Quality and Land Use Information in the EU.  26-27 May, 2011, Keszthely, Hungary. The program of the 'Land Quality 2011' conference is announced and available from the conference website at http://landq2011.uni-pannon.hu/ Following recent scientific and policy developments - also reflected in international environmental agreements - land quality is now regarded as an integrated measure of different aspects of land ecosystem services. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences together with the European Commission (Eurostat, DG Environment, JRC) and the University of Pannonia and in association with the Hungarian EU presidency is organizing a conference on the issue. The program, including plenary presentations and detailed timetable of the scientific sessions with presentation titles is now available at the conference website. Poster submission and registration for the conference are open until 30th April.

New Publications

Dealing with Contaminated Sites. From Theory towards Practical Application. Edited by Frank A. Swartjes (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, the Netherlands), Springer, Hardcover, 1114 p., January 2011, ISBN 978-90-481-9756-9. This standard work on contaminated site management covers the whole chain of steps involved in dealing with contaminated sites, from site investigation to remediation. An important focus throughout the book has been on Human health, Ecological and Groundwater-related Risk Assessment. In addition, the book includes chapters on characterization of natural and urban soils, sampling, bioavailability, natural attenuation, policy and stakeholder viewpoints and Brownfields. Typically, the book includes in-depth theories on soil contamination, along with offering possibilities for practical application. More than sixty of the world's top experts from Europe, the USA, Australia and Canada have contributed to this book. The twenty-five chapters in this book offer relevant information for experienced scientists, students, consultants and regulators, as well as for 'new players' in contaminated site management. For details see http:// springer.com/978-90-481-9756-9.

Sulphur in Soils, Crops and Fertilisers from research to practical application. By Tandon, HLS. 2011. ISBN: 81-85116-62-8. Pages 204+x. Fertiliser Development and Consultation Organisation,204-204A Bhanot Corner, 1-2 Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi 110 048 (India), email: fdco@airtelmail.in  fdco@vsnl.net Price US$ 60 (inclusive of airmail delivery). This is the 48th practical and reference book published by FDCO on various aspects of plant nutrients, fertilizers and integrated nutrient management .This book is a continuation of their efforts in providing technically sound and easily understandable synthesis of scientific information on plant nutrient sulphur (S) for practical use by various stake holders. The main theme chapters in the book  deal with (i) the role of sulphur in plants and its  deficiency symptoms, requirement by crops and their critical concentrations,(ii) sulphur status of soils and the extent of sulphur deficiencies,(iii) sulphur uptake by crops in relation to yield, (iv) the effect of S application on crop yield and produce quality,(v) interactions of sulphur with other nutrients, (vi) sulphur management in cropping systems to assess the residual effects, (vii) sulphur uptake, removal and balances, (viii) impact of continuous use of S-free fertilizers on crop productivity, (ix)economics of sulphur fertilization,  (x) sulphur fertilizers- their characteristics, transformation, production and consumption, (xi)guidelines for sulphur management and practical  recommendations followed by  an exhaustive list of references and appendices. The easily readable text is supported by a large number of tables and diagrams.

Soil Fertility, Fertilisers and INM . By H.L.S. Tandon. 2011. ISBN: 81-85116-59-8. Pages 156+vi. Fertiliser Development and Consultation Organisation, 204-204A Bhanot Corner, 1-2 Pamposh Enclave,New Delhi 110 048 (India), Email: fdco@airtelmail.in fdco@vsnl.net PriceUS$ 60 (inclusive of airmail delivery). This user-friendly dictionary by Dr HLS Tandon  goes well beyond providing definitions of terms as is usually done in a conventional dictionary. It can be considered as a source book which  provides definitions and elaborated explanations with examples in simple English of the most important terms in soil fertility-chemistry, nutrient  management, agronomy, fertilizer trade and integrated nutrient management (INM) covering all major and micro plant nutrients, conventional fertilisers, micronutrient carriers, speciality fertilisers, liquid fertilizers, organic manures, composts, biofertilisers etc. The elaborate coverage is illustrated by the fact that nearly 30 aspects are discussed under the generic term nutrient ranging from nutrient availability to nutrient uptake. Under the main heading of Soil, about 40 terms/descriptors are discussed ranging from soil acidity to soil testing.  Similarly under, compost the aspects discussed are compost accelerators, compost enrichment and  compost preparation. The text is supported by several tables and diagrams.This sourcebook-cum dictionary is expected to be a handy and useful ready reference book for all those who are  interested in soil and crop management through the integrated management of plant nutrients through diverse sources, whether mineral, organic or microbial.

Suelos de la Region Pampeana. Procesos de Formacion. By: Perla Amanda Imbellone, Jorge Eloy Gimenez and Jos-Luis Panigatti. Ediciones INTA. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2010. 320 pp. ISBN: 978-987-1623-40-2 (In Spanish). The Pampean Region covers an area of about 600.000 km2.  Its soils, largely formed in loess sediments, are the most fertile of Argentina and are mainly used as cropland or for livestock raising. The book describes in five chapters the main pedogenic processes operating in the Region: melanization, illimerization (argilluviation), hydromorphism, vertisolization and sodification, salinization, plus an introductory chapter on general aspects of pedogenic processes. Each chapter includes the genesis of the process, the influence of the soil-forming factors, the macro- and micromorphological, physical, chemical and mineralogical properties which reflect the process, the classification of the soils according to different systems (mainly Soil Taxonomy and WRB) and their distribution in the Region. Finally, applied aspects are discussed such as limitations for different uses, degradation evidences and recommended management practices. The description of the processes is largely based on information from local research works. The book includes tables, graphs, maps and colour photographs of soil profiles and associated landscapes. It is addressed mainly to researchers, educators and students in soil science and related disciplines. To order see: libreria@correo.inta.gov.ar


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